Saturday, November 19, 2011

2 (Well Actually 3) Ingredient Pumpkin Cookies

These yummy-looking cookies were posted Thursday on Cookiesand Cups.  Saw the photos and started drooling…

So here’s the SPH version…
1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
1-2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (to taste – I like mine good and spicy, so I use a full tablespoon of store bought, or a full batch of my own recipe - see below)
2 cups pumpkin, either 1 15-oz. can or frozen pumpkin that has been defrosted
1 can Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Vanilla Frosting (if desired - not pictured)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine first three ingredients in a mixing bowl, and stir til smooth.  Drop by tablespoonfuls (I use my cookie scooper) onto lined cookie sheets, about 2” apart, and bake for about 13 -15 minutes.

Allow to cool a few minutes on cookie sheets.  While still warm, frost with frosting,  if desired.  Allow to finish cooling, then enjoy!
You can see in the photo that the warmth of the cookies is helping me frost them.  Also, if yours are too cool to turn frosting into drizzle, set them back in your oven for a few minutes - your oven is still plenty warm for a while after you are done baking, so take advantage!  The not-so-pretty cookies that aren't pictured went back in while I frosted these.  Guess what, in the end, they all turned out DELICIOUS - nice and cakey!
Some other ideas to try for these:
  1. Add raisins.
  2. Add sweetened dried cranberries.
  3. Omit the frosting
  4. Omit the pumpkin pie spice and add chocolate chips.  This is similar to a recipe my sister uses.
Now you’ll notice there’s no pumpkin pie spice in the photo of the ingredients…

I was out, so I made my own.

Here’s a recipe for that, too – it’s from the book, Make Your Own Groceries, by Daphne Metaxas Hartwig.  This was one of my mom’s books, and it’s become one of the best references in my kitchen.

So Daphne’s recipe is:
½ cup cinnamon
¼ cup ginger
2 tablespoons nutmeg
2 tablespoons ground cloves
This recipe makes a whole cup of pumpkin pie spice.  This is fine if you use a lot.  Be sure to store in an airtight jar, away from the light.  However, I don’t want or need 1 cup right now, and my spice jars are all running a bit low.  So how do you break this down into smaller quantities?

It’s a matter of proportions.  Let’s pick one part of the recipe to be a basic unit.  I usually start with the smallest amount, then convert up or down, whether from tablespoons to cups, or vice versa.   Our smallest number is 2 tablespoons (which is also 1/8 of a cup).  A half-cup is 8 tablespoons, which is 4 times 2.  We will need 4 units of cinnamon.  The quarter-cup of ginger is 4 tablespoons, so 2 units.  The nutmeg and cloves are both 1 unit.  So our proportion looks like this:


This means that no matter what unit of measure you use for making pumpkin pie spice, you will use 4 units of cinnamon, whether it’s teaspoons, ounces or pounds or boxcars.  You will use 2 units of ginger, and 1 unit each of cloves and nutmeg.

I love when math makes things simpler (and of course delicious, too!).

So to put this proportion to work in our recipe, let’s start with 1/2 teaspoons.  That’s a good, small, single recipe size.  Let’s make that our single unit for nutmeg and cloves.  That means our ginger is 2 units, which makes it 1 teaspoon.  Our cinnamon would then come out at 2 teaspoons.
Remember when I told you that I rarely meet a recipe I don’t tweak in some way?  This one is no different.  I’m not a huge fan of cloves, but I am a huge fan of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Feel free to play with these proportions to your taste.

The SPH recipe is as follows:
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
Add this full recipe to your yellow cake mix, stir well to combine thoroughly,  and you will have spice cake.  Any time you’d like.  You can also use it to make apple pie spice, just add allspice to taste (I usually add about 1/2 teaspoon).

Oh, and did I tell you, that if you LOVE LOVE LOVE pumpkin spice coffee, add a whole SPH recipe to the grounds in your coffee maker, then make coffee as usual, you will have pumpkin spice coffee at a fraction of the cost as well as know what ingredients are in your cup.  This, by the way, is out-of-this-world yummy with a vanilla creamer.

Hope you all have a great weekend, and be sure to check back here on Sunday for the start of “The 9 Days of Knitting” tutorial and knit-along for Special Olympics.

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